Dominican Republic Civil Registration

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Dominican Republic Gotoarrow.png Civil Registration


Each civil registrar (Oficial del Estado Civil) is required to keep a duplicate registry of the original records of birth, marriage, divorce, and death. At the end of each year, the original registry, together with its corresponding index book, is sent to the Central Office of the Civil State. These civil registrations allow people to be identified as citizens and therefore able to receive governmental benefits in the future.

The birth of a child in the Dominican Republic must be registered within 30 days of the birth. After that, it is considered a late registration and has penalties. However, to avoid the penalties, many children were not registered.

General Historical Background

With the adoption of the Napoleonic civil code of 1804, the Dominican Republic began the practice of civil registration, creating the offices of the civil state (oficialías del estado civil) in charge of registering the events of birth, marriage, and death in the life of its citizens. However, only some civil registration books dating back to 1823 have been found in the Bayaguana Civil Registry (Oficialía del Estado Civil de Bayaguana). Before that time, the Dominican Republic was under Haitian dominion. It wasn’t until June of 1944 that the National Congress created civil registration law 659, which provided new regulations for the functionality of the civil registration institution. One of the regulations was the creation of the Central Office of the Civil State (Oficina Central del Estado Civil), with civil registration headquarters in the capital city and one or more offices in each municipality. The registration of civil records was to be made in duplicate, and one of the original registers was to be sent annually to the Central Office for preservation.

Information Recorded in Civil Registers

Birth records may contain the following information:

  • Name and gender of child
  • Date, place, and time of birth
  • Child’s legitimacy
  • Parents’ names and ages
  • Parents’ occupations and residence
  • Grandparents' names
  • Date, place, and time of registration
  • Registrant's occupation and residence

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names and ages of groom and bride
  • Marital status of groom and bride
  • Legitimacy of groom and bride
  • Parents' names and ages
  • Groom's residence
  • Bride’s legitimacy
  • Date of betrothal promise
  • Witnesses’ names
  • Witnesses’ age, marital status, and occupation
  • Name of civil official and/or marriage officiator

Death records may contain the following information:

  • Name and age of deceased (keep in mind that death records for women may be filed under their married name)
  • Marital status/spouse's name of deceased
  • Date, place, and time of death
  • Cause of death
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents of deceased
  • Parents' origin and residence
  • Witnesses' names
  • Informant's name and age
  • Date, place, and time of registration
  • Informant's marital status, occupation, origin, and residence

Births (nacimientos)

Marriages (matrimonios, casamientos)

Divorce Records

Deaths (defunciones)

Locating Civil Registration Records

Search Strategies

To effectively use civil records, follow these steps:

  1. Search for the relative or ancestor you have selected. When you find the person’s birth record, search for the births of his or her brothers and sisters.
  2. Search for the marriage of his or her parents. The marriage record will often give you information that leads to the parents’ birth record.
  3. Estimate the parents’ age and search for their birth records.
  4. Repeat the process for both the father and mother.
  5. If earlier generations are not in the record, search neighboring municipios.
  6. Search the death records for all family members.